Tag California

Windsor Square

Raising families since 1922

Built in 1922

MAISON ORION’S latest project is a renovation and addition to an existing home in central Los Angeles. Located in historic Windsor Square, this neighborhood was subdivided in 1911 from Rancho La Brea. The homes in the neighborhood represent several architectural styles including Craftsman, Spanish Colonial, Tudor, English and American Colonial. The area was home to J. Paul Getty and Raymond Chandler. Nearby Larchmont Boulevard was used in several films dating back to 1924 including Harold Lloyd’s Hot Water and For Heaven’s Sake, Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. and Eight on the Lam with Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller.

This home is nearly 100 years old. The plan is to expand the house in a manner that is sensitive to its architectural heritage while updating it for the needs of a contemporary family, hopefully leading it into another 100 years of service. Check back for periodic updates.

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Circadian Regulation and Buildings

Neuroscientist Satchin Panda, Ph.D., an Associate Professor at the Salk Institute, will be speaking on the subject of circadian rhythms and facility design. He will discuss how different quantities of natural and artificial light within a built space impact human mood and cognitive performance. Frederick Marks, AIA, a founding Board member of ANFA, will participate by responding to Dr. Panda’s speech from the viewpoint of an architect.

For more information about ANFA please visit: www.anfarch.org

Mystic Rhythms

Le Corbusier didn't forget.

Le Corbusier didn’t forget.

So many things I think about
When I look far away
Things I know, things I wonder
Things I’d like to say
The more we think we know about
The greater the unknown
We suspend our disbelief
And we are not alone…

Mystic rhythms
Capture my thoughts
Carry them away
Mysteries of night escape the light of day
Mystic rhythms
Under northern lights
Or the African sun
Primitive things stir
The hearts of everyone

Rush “Mystic Rhythms”

Last month I attended the 2014 Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture conference in at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. Thoughtful, multi-sensory design and the phenomenology of architecture is a particular interest of mine. The conference was excellent because scientists and practitioners shared the varying ways they are trying to understand the brain and put this knowledge into designs for buildings. Much like the notion that 100 years ago all food was organic and now it’s a specialty item that we have to pay extra for, I’m amazed at how the architecture of primitive and traditional societies unconsciously incorporated features essential to human well being and now our “Modern” advanced society needs to rediscover all the things we’ve forgotten.

The human body is regulated by internal processed but external factors play a big role in keeping everything running smoothly. Much like the timing belt of an automobile keeps all the engine parts humming in unison, circadian rhythms help us wake up, be alert during the day, get hungry at regular times, and helps put us to bed. Though these activities are internal to the body, the are adjusted or entrained by the external cues called Zeitgebers. Zeitgeber is a German word meaning “time giver” or “synchronizer.” There are several cues that influence us, daylight is the primary one.

Humans developed in the outdoors, so it is only reasonable that the natural cycles of light and dark have such a profound affect on us. As the sun moves across the sky over the course of the day, the spectrum of light changes. In the early morning until about noon, intensity is high in the blue region of 400 – 500 nanometers. As the sun sets, blue light is scattered and the light appears orange-red in the range of 600 – 700 nanometers. As a species, living and working indoors is a relatively new experience. Artificial illumination from electric lighting, computer screens, televisions, tablets and smartphones can all have detrimental effects on maintaining circadian balance because the photoreceptors in the eyes are getting the wrong spectrum of light at the wrong time of day.